Gluten-Free Tuesday: Shortcakes

[Photograph: Elizabeth Barbone]

If I close my eyes, I can hear it: the call of summer berries. OK, maybe that's just my stomach talking but nonetheless it's berry season. And you know what that means—it's shortcake season!

Shortcakes are really just sweetened biscuits. A few weeks ago we made cheddar biscuits, and the technique for this recipe is the same: cut cold fat into flour, add liquid (in this case heavy cream) and drop the finished dough onto a baking sheet.

Most traditional (read: wheat-filled) shortcakes, use white flour. I wondered how shortcakes made with a blend of whole-grain flours might taste. Would the mild, nutty flavor of the brown rice and sorghum enhance or overpower the delicate berries?

Turns out, the flours nicely enhanced the flavor of the finished shortcake. A few of my tasters thought the whole-grain version contained more vanilla than the shortcakes baked with white rice flour. The recipe didn't contain any vanilla extract! I think the combination of whole-grain flours added a fragrant, earthy tone that they mistook for vanilla. This was a happy surprise.

If you prefer a traditional shortcake, replace the brown rice and sorghum flour with white rice flour. I've made the recipe both ways and love both versions.

Allergen-Free Modifications: Dairy is the only "top eight" allergen this recipe contains. To make the shortcakes dairy-free, replace the butter with a solid dairy-free shortening and the half and half with a dairy-free replacement. If nuts aren't a problem for you, mimi-creme works well.

About the author: Elizabeth Barbone of GlutenFreeBaking.com joins us every Tuesday with a new gluten-free recipe. Elizabeth is an alumna of the Culinary Institute of America and Mount Mary College. With her solid professional baking background, Elizabeth is known for creating gluten-free recipes that taste just like their wheat counterparts. She is the author of Easy Gluten-Free Baking.

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Gluten-Free Tuesday: Shortcakes

About This Recipe

Yield:Makes 14 biscuits
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:1 hour

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (1 1/4 cups) sorghum flour
  • 5 ounces (1 cup) brown rice flour
  • 5.5 ounces (1 cup) potato starch
  • 3 ounces (3/4 cup) tapioca starch
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups cold half and half (or 3/4 cup whole milk, 3/4 cup heavy cream)
  • Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top of shortcakes, optional
  • Easy Strawberry Shortcake
  • Strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Heavy cream or whipped heavy cream

Procedures

  1. 1

    Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. 2

    In bowl of food processor, pulse together sorghum flour, brown rice
    flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, granulated sugar, baking powder,
    salt, and xanthan gum. (Don't have a food processor? Use a medium bowl
    and whisk ingredients together.)

  3. 3

    Add butter. Cut butter into dry ingredients by pulsing food processor a few times. Butter pieces should be about the size of a small peas. (If doing this by hand, cut shortening and butter into the dry ingredients with either a pastry cutter or by rubbing the fat into the dry ingredients with your hands.)

  4. 4

    Add half and half. Pulse food processor until dough forms. (Stir to combine if doing this by hand.) As soon as dough comes together, stop food processor.

  5. 5

    Drop dough, about 1/4 cup each, onto prepared baking sheet. If desired, sprinkle tops of shortcakes with coarse sugar. Bake until shortcakes are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

  6. 6

    Remove shortcakes from pan and place on wire rack to cool.

  7. 7

    To make an easy strawberry shortcake: Toss sliced strawberries with confectioners' sugar. Allow berries to stand for about five minutes. Split shortcake in half. Top shortcake with berries and drizzle with cream or spoon whipped cream on top of berries.

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